Top Gazette stories of 2020

first_imgThe danger of ‘misinformation, disinformation, delusions, and deceit’By Alvin PowellCommencement speaker Martin Baron, editor of The Washington Post, sends along the Class of 2020 with the message that facts and the truth matter and are worth fighting for.,An enduring bondBy Rose Lincoln, with photos by Jon Chase, Rose Lincoln, Stephanie Mitchell, and Kris SnibbeStudents we interviewed in 2017, now seniors, reflect on the friendships forged with their first-year roommates.Lessons for decision-makers The fire this timeBy Christina PazzaneseLawrence D. Bobo, dean of social science and the W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences, dissects police killings of Black men and the history and cognitive forces behind racial bigotry and violence, and why he sees signs of hope.,Why America can’t escape its racist rootsBy Liz MineoOrlando Patterson, the John Cowles Professor of Sociology, says there’s been progress, but the nation needs to reject white supremacist ideology, bigotry in policing, and segregation.A high-stakes election,After a hard election, the real work beginsBy Harvard StaffScholars from a range of fields look for hints of future prospects in the past and predict what lies ahead in economy, health care, equity, and more.How might the election change the nation’s place on world stage?By Christina PazzaneseExperts and analysts from the Harvard Kennedy School and Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies examine possibilities in foreign policy, intelligence, and defense.Brighter days for arts forecast in Biden administrationBy Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite and Colleen WalshExperts say cultural resources may help heal battered nation after brutal 2020.Health & Medicine Feel like kids, spouse, work giving you gray hair? They may beBy Jessica LauNew findings involving nervous system and stem cells suggest just how stress may trigger the change.What we know and don’t know about potBy Alvin PowellKevin Hill, associate professor of psychiatry, talks about fearmongering and rosy myths, safe use and addiction.,How caffeine changed the worldBy Colleen WalshAuthor Michael Pollan discusses his latest work on the world’s most-used psychoactive substance.Science & Technology The Gazette ran its first story on the coronavirus outbreak on Jan. 30, a Q&A with the Chan School’s Marc Lipsitch outlining what experts knew (and didn’t) about the disease at the time. The picture sharpened in the following weeks. And the deadly pandemic dominated our coverage, touching as it did every part of our lives and shining a harsh spotlight on social, political, and economic inequities. It also had a major role in the two other big stories of the year: the national reckoning over race and the high-stakes presidential election. In addition to all that, there were scientific discoveries, achievements in the arts, academic milestones, and a virtual celebration honoring the Class of 2020. But the larger theme running throughout felt familiar: members of the community rising to challenges and striving to make things better, both on campus and in the wider world, with thoughtfulness and creativity. Here’s a look back at an extraordinary year through a sampling of some of our most-read stories.COVID-19 hits home A new threat to beesBy Juan SiliezarBut murder hornets are nothing compared with pesticides, climate change, Harvard experts say.,When a bird brain tops Harvard students on a testBy Juan Siliezar with video by Justin SaglioExperiment tests human vs. parrot memory in a complex shell game.State of the nation Do justices really set aside personal beliefs? Nope, legal scholar saysBy Liz MineoMichael Klarman, an authority on constitutional law and history and Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, sees trouble ahead in large conservative majority on Supreme Court.Two-parent homes aren’t the key for allBy Manisha Aggarwal-SchifelliteWhy single-parent homes don’t affect Black children as negatively as white kids.Earth Day turns 50,How Earth Day gave birth to environmental movementBy Christina PazzaneseDenis Hayes, one of the event’s founders, recalls the first and how its influence spread.Harvard endowment to go greenhouse gas-neutral by 2050By Colleen WalshUniversity’s efforts to eliminate carbon footprint extend to investment portfolio.Photography,Life along the Charles from sunrise to sunsetBy Rose Lincoln with photos by Rose Lincoln and Stephanie MitchellGazette photographers record the life that teems along the waterway.,History in a snap … or twoBy Anna Burgess with photos by Stephanie MitchellNine Harvard buildings, two photographers, 88 years apart.center_img ‘I thought: This is going to be interesting’By Colleen WalshPresident Bacow shares his own experience having COVID-19.,‘Unsteady,’ ‘lucky,’ and ‘overwhelmed’By Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite and Jill RadskenIn March, students reflect on the shift to online classes and unplanned move home.A day in the life of an ER docBy Colleen WalshThird-year resident Anita Chary describes the personal and professional trials brought by the pandemic.Emotional toll of pandemic Feeling more anxious and stressed? You’re not aloneBy Alvin PowellChan School’s Karestan Koenen, professor of psychiatric epidemiology, discusses rising mental health concerns in the coronavirus era.,What pandemic dreams may comeBy Colleen WalshHarvard researcher Deirdre Barrett, assistant professor of psychology, says many are having nights full of bugs, masks, and natural disasters.Staying connected,Harbingers of Housing DayBy Juan Siliezar with photos by Stephanie MitchellA Who’s Who of the Big 12 — mascots, that is.Creating community in the virtual classroomBy Manisha Aggarwal-SchifelliteFaculty adapt their courses to bring students together.Postcards from hereHarvard undergrads tell us about the changes brought by the pandemic back home and how they’re keeping in touch with friends from the College.Honoring the Class of 2020 Time to fix American education with race-for-space resolveBy Liz MineoPaul Reville, former secretary of education for Massachusetts, says COVID-19 school closures have turned a spotlight on inequities and other shortcomings.How COVID turned a spotlight on weak worker rightsBy Liz MineoSharon Block, executive director of the Labor and Worklife Program, and Benjamin Sachs, the Kestnbaum Professor of Labor and Industry, point to flaws in the social safety net, an indifferent OSHA, and a system that favors employers over employees.A brave new world,What will the new post-pandemic normal look like?By Alvin PowellOutbreak forced changes big and small, some of which are here to stay.What might COVID cost the U.S.? Try $16 trillionBy Alvin PowellDavid Cutler, the Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics, and Lawrence Summers, the Charles W. Eliot University Professor and former U.S. Treasury secretary, say national testing, contact tracing could make huge difference in saving costs.Quest for racial justice The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.last_img read more

Toppling the myth of meritocracy

first_img Will coronavirus change college admissions? Harvard releases statement from 300 admissions deans about what they expect from applicants during pandemic Anthony A. Jack sees the ability to reach out as just another tool in a successful professional’s kit If Harvard were to reopen today, who should be allowed to return? Paradoxically, this is the gift the cheating parents wanted to give their kids. If all they really cared about was enabling their children to live in affluence, they could have given them trust funds. But they wanted something else — the meritocratic cachet that admission to elite colleges confers, one that is itself illusory.As we discussed, it cannot really be said that even students who win admission through the front door did so solely on their own. What about the parents and teachers who helped them on their way? What about talents and gifts not wholly of their making? What about the good fortune to live in a society that cultivates and rewards the talents they happen to have?Those who prevail in a competitive meritocracy are indebted in ways the competition obscures. As the meritocracy intensifies, the striving so absorbs us that our indebtedness recedes from view. In this way, even a fair meritocracy, one without cheating or bribery or special privileges for the wealthy, induces the mistaken impression that we have made it on our own.Besides being self-deluding, such thinking is also corrosive of civic sensibilities. For the more we think of ourselves as self-made and self-sufficient, the harder it is to learn gratitude and humility. And without these sentiments, it is hard to care for the common good.College admission is not the only occasion for arguments about merit.Debates about who deserves what abound in contemporary politics. On the surface, these debates are about fairness: Does everyone have a truly equal opportunity to compete for desirable goods and social positions? Excerpted from “Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good?” by Michael J. Sandel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) In March 2019, as high school students awaited the results of their college applications, federal prosecutors made a stunning announcement. They charged 33 wealthy parents with engaging in an elaborate cheating scheme to get their children admitted to elite universities including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, and the University of Southern California.At the heart of the scam was an unscrupulous consultant named William Singer, who ran a business that catered to anxious, affluent parents. Singer’s company specialized in gaming the intensely competitive college admissions system that had in recent decades become the primary gateway to prosperity and prestige. For students lacking the stellar academic credentials top colleges required, Singer devised corrupt workarounds.For instance, the chairman of a prestigious law firm paid $75,000 for his daughter to take a college entrance exam at a test center supervised by a proctor paid by Singer to ensure the student received the score she needed. Television actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, paid Singer $500,000 to get their two daughters admitted to USC as bogus recruits to the crew team. Another celebrity, the actress Felicity Huffman, known for her role in the television series “Desperate Housewives,” somehow got a bargain rate; for only $15,000, Singer put in the fix for her daughter’s SAT. In all, Singer took in $25 million over eight years.The scandal provoked universal outrage. In a polarized time, when Americans could scarcely agree on anything, it drew massive coverage and condemnation across the political spectrum — on Fox News and MSNBC, in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Everyone agreed that bribing and cheating to gain admission to elite colleges was reprehensible. But the outrage expressed something deeper. In ways that people struggled to articulate, it was an emblematic scandal, one that raised larger questions about who gets ahead, and why.In describing his scam, Singer noted that some try to ensure entrance for marginally qualified applicants through the “back door,” giving a college a major gift. But he noted that strategy offered no guarantee of admission. He referred to his own technique of bribes and faked test scores as a surer “side door” approach.From the standpoint of fairness, however, it is hard to distinguish between the “back door” and the “side door.” Both give an edge to children of wealthy parents who are admitted instead of better-qualified applicants. Both allow money to override merit. Admission based on merit defines entry through the “front door.” As Singer put it, the front door “means you get in on your own.” It represents what most people consider fair.In practice, of course, it is not that simple. Money hovers over the front door as well as the back. Measures of merit are hard to disentangle from economic advantage. Standardized tests such as the SAT purport to measure merit. In practice, however, SAT scores closely track family income. The richer a student’s family, the higher the score he or she is likely to receive.Not only do wealthy parents enroll their children in SAT prep courses, they hire private admissions counselors to burnish their applications, enroll them in dance and music lessons, train them in elite sports such as fencing, squash, golf, tennis, crew, lacrosse, and sailing, the better to qualify for recruitment to college teams, and send them off to perform good works in distant places to demonstrate concern for the downtrodden. And don’t forget the potential benefits of legacy admission and donor appreciation.Then there is tuition. At all but the handful of colleges wealthy enough to admit students without regard for their ability to pay, those who do not need financial aid are more likely than their needy counterparts to get in.Critics point to these inequalities as evidence that higher education is not the meritocracy it claims to be. From this point of view, the admissions scandal is an egregious instance of the broader, pervasive unfairness that prevents higher education from living up to the meritocratic principle it professes.Despite their disagreements, those who consider the cheating scandal a shocking departure from standard admissions practices and those who consider it an extreme example of tendencies already prevalent in college admissions share a common premise: Students should be admitted to college based on merit. They also agree, implicitly at least, that those who get in based on merit have earned their admission and deserve the benefits that flow from it.If this familiar view is right, then the problem with meritocracy is not with the principle but with our failure to live up to it. Political argument between conservatives and liberals bears this out. Our public debates are not about meritocracy itself but about how to achieve it. Conservatives argue, for example, that affirmative action policies that consider race and ethnicity as factors in admission amount to a betrayal of merit-based admission; liberals defend affirmative action as a way of remedying persisting unfairness and argue that a true meritocracy can be achieved only by leveling the playing field between the privileged and the disadvantaged.But this debate overlooks the possibility that the problem with meritocracy runs deeper.Consider again the admissions scandal. Most of the outrage focused on the cheating and the unfairness. Equally troubling, however, are the attitudes that fueled the cheating. Lying in the background was the assumption, now so familiar that it is scarcely noticed, that admission to an elite university is a highly sought prize. The scandal was attention-grabbing not only because it implicated celebrities and the wealthy but also because the access they tried to buy was so widely and ardently desired.Why is this so? Why has admission to prestigious universities become so fiercely sought that privileged parents commit fraud to get their kids in? Or turn their high school years into a stress-strewn gantlet of AP classes, résumé building, and pressure-packed striving? Why has admission to elite colleges come to loom so large in our society that the FBI would devote massive law enforcement resources to ferreting out the scam, and that news of the scandal would command headlines and public attention for months?The obsession has its origins in the growing inequality of recent decades. It reflects the fact that more is at stake in who gets in where. As the wealthiest 10 percent pulled away from the rest, the stakes of attending a prestigious college increased. Fifty years ago, applying to college was less fraught. Fewer than one in five Americans went to a four-year college, and those who did tended to enroll in places close to home. College rankings mattered less than they do today.But economic anxiety is not the whole story. More than a hedge against downward mobility, Singer’s clients were buying something else, something less tangible but more valuable. They were, in fact, buying the borrowed luster of merit. In an unequal society, those who land on top want to believe their success is morally justified. In a meritocratic society, this means the winners must believe they have earned their success through their talent and hard work. “As the meritocracy intensifies, the striving so absorbs us that our indebtedness recedes from view. In this way, even a fair meritocracy, one without cheating or bribery or special privileges for the wealthy, induces the mistaken impression that we have made it on our own.”center_img Advice to students: Don’t be afraid to ask for help Related Michael Sandel poses a series of questions at a community event on ethics and the pandemic response But our disagreements about merit are not only about fairness. They are also about how we define success and failure, winning and losing — and about the attitudes the winners should hold toward those less successful than themselves. These are highly charged questions, and we try to avoid them until they force themselves upon us.Finding our way beyond the polarized politics of our time requires a reckoning with merit. How has its meaning been recast in recent decades, in ways that erode the dignity of work and leave many people feeling that elites look down on them? Are the winners of globalization justified in the belief that they have earned and therefore deserve their success, or is this a matter of meritocratic hubris?At a time when anger against elites has brought democracy to the brink, the question of merit takes on a special urgency. We need to ask whether the solution to our fractious politics is to live more faithfully by the principle of merit, or to seek a common good beyond the sorting and the striving.Copyright © 2020 by Michael J. Sandel. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Jamestown Businesses Encouraged To Partake In St. Patrick’s Day Festivities

first_imgImage by Justin Gould/WNYNewsNow.JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce is encouraging local businesses to partake in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Downtown Jamestown.The Chamber of Commerce says they will once again turn the Chadakoin River green for St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday, March 14 at 11 a.m. at the Riverwalk in Brooklyn Square.The business group is asking local shops to participate in the day’s activities by offering holiday deals to customers.Businesses interested in participating are asked to contact Joanna Dahlbeck, the Jamestown Community Chamber Coordinator, at or call the chamber at 484-1101. The chamber says they are trying to move foot traffic from Brooklyn Square into local businesses for shopping, brunch, or lunch on the day of the event.The event is sponsored by the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau and M&T Bank. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

New Musical Comedy Disenchanted! Begins Previews Off-Broadway

first_img View Comments Related Shows Featuring a book, music and lyrics by Dennis T. Giacino and directed by Fiely A. Matias, the tuner features your typical “princess posse” in a show that’s anything-but-typical. Show White, Cinderella, Belle and more toss off the tiaras and get real in a not-for-kids musical where fairy tales will never be the same. The show premiered at Orlando’s International Fringe Festival in 2011 and has been licensed nationwide since. Disenchanted The cast of Disenchanted! includes Michelle Knight as Snow White, Becky Gulsvig as Cinderella, Jen Bechter as Sleeping Beauty, Lulu Picart as Hua Mulan/Pocahontas/Princess Badroulbadour, Alison Burns as Belle/The Little Mermaid/Rapunzel and Soara-Joye Ross as The Princess Who Kissed the Frog. Show Closed This production ended its run on June 14, 2015 Happily never after? Fairy tale musical lampoon Disenchanted! begins off-Broadway performances on November 26. The comedy is playing a nine-week limited engagement at the Theatre at St. Clement’s and will officially open on December 4.last_img read more

Public Service Board approves 30-megawatt wind power project

first_imgThe Vermont Public Service Board on Thursday approved one of the largest wind power generating facilities in Vermont. The PSB issued a certificate of public good to Deerfield Wind LLC authorizing it to construct and operate a 15-turbine, 30-megawatt wind generation facility, and associated transmission and interconnection facilities, on approximately 80 acres in the Green Mountain National Forest, located in Searsburg and Readsboro. Seven turbines are to be placed on the east side of Route 8 on the same ridgeline as the existing Green Mountain Power Searsburg wind facility and eight turbines built along the ridgeline to the west of Route 8 in the northwesterly orientation.GMP’s Searsburg site is still the only commercially operating wind farm in Vermont. The eleven, 550-kilowatt wind turbines (6-megawatt) can provide enough electricity to supply 1,600 average Vermont households. It went online in July 1997.The new Searsburg project is the second large-scale wind project approved in the last two years. Vermont Wind LLC, a subsidiary of First Wind from Newton, MA, was granted a Certificate of Public Good by the Public Service Board in 2007 for a 40-megawatt project in Sheffield.The official order from the PSB is attached. AttachmentSize Wind Farm.pdf57.2 KBlast_img read more

Nicaragua Disrupts Main Drug Trafficking Support Network

first_imgBy Dialogo March 07, 2013 On March 4, the Nicaraguan Police disrupted a cell that provided support to drug trafficking led by Mexican national José Torres Chaperón, who remains a fugitive after 26 out of his 42 members were arrested, in addition to 63 properties and 59 land and water vehicles that were also seized. Chaperón founded “logistics, reception, storage, transport of drugs and security cells” and acquired property at the disposal of drug trafficking in Nicaragua, the Police reported in a press release. The ring facilitated the smuggling of drugs from Colombia to Mexico through the Nicaraguan Pacific, mainly through the border departments of Rivas, Chinandega, Managua, Matagalpa and Masaya, the report specified. Among the detainees, there are four leaders, including Guatemalan national Martín Sánchez Flores, the only foreigner in this operation that the Police started to monitor under the name of “Temis” in 2010. During the operation carried out last week, the Police siezed 63 properties, 44 land vehicles, 15 speedboats, four firearms, and about $50,000 in cash. Judge Julio Arias from Managua’s 5th Criminal District, ordered the pre-trial detention of the 26 detainees, who will be tried on March 20 under charges of drug trafficking, money laundering, and organized crime association. According to Nicaraguan authorities, the gang led by Chaperón is a remnant of the local drug trafficking structure created in 2010 by entrepreneur Henry Fariñas, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for money laundering and drug trafficking along with 21 national and foreign accomplices in October 2012. In July 2011 Fariñas was the main witness and failed target of the attack in which Argentine singer-songwriter Facundo Carbral died in Guatemala.last_img read more

Gov. Wolf: Pennsylvania Businesses Endorse Mask-Wearing to Protect Employees, Customers, Communities

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter June 25, 2020 Economy,  Press Release,  Public Health Multiple research studies indicate the efficacy of mask-wearing to protect against the spread of COVID-19. Mask-wearing also has been called altruistic, a way to increase our freedoms, and a simple kindness. Today, Governor Tom Wolf’s call to wear masks has been endorsed by Pennsylvania businesses that see mask-wearing as vital to protecting customers, employees, communities and their bottom lines.“The COVID-19 guidance we provided to Pennsylvania businesses includes required mask-wearing by all who enter a business – employees and customers – because we know owners want to do all they can to protect those who help them maintain their bottom line,” Gov. Wolf said. “I’m pleased that employers both large and small have taken this guidance seriously and are joining me in a call to protect against the spread of COVID-19.”“The GIANT Company continues to take the necessary steps to keep our customers and team members safe in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus – from requiring team members to wear masks to checkstand partitions at registers, plus other social distancing and strict sanitation protocols,” said president Nicholas Bertram. “Everyone should continue to do their part as good neighbors to follow the mask-wearing guidance put forth by Governor Wolf to protect each other and help stop the spread of the virus.”“Businesses should model the importance of safety and precaution through their practices — including masks — to build customer trust and ultimately keep everyone safe,” Mallory Fix Lopez, owner, On Point Bistro in South Philadelphia said. “This also leads to more sustainable business. Safe employees mean a secure workforce. Additionally, customers have faith they are safe when patronizing the business. The use of masks is key to public health and business sustainability, and it’s essential that businesses are actively supporting the use of masks.”“As a hair salon owner, the safety of my customers is important to me,” said Georgeanne Huff-Labovitz, owner of Marie Huff Hairdressing in Tacony in NE Philadelphia. “I am taking every effort to ensure their safety. Wearing a face covering protects everyone and prevents the spread of COVID-19 and is a key part of safely reopening my business and serving my customers.”Gov. Wolf and Sec. of Health Dr. Rachel Levine made mask-wearing a requirement of businesses with in-person operations via the secretary’s order that grants her this authority granted by law.The governor and secretary of Health’s business guidance centered around reopening includes the mask-wearing requirement. The guidance states that businesses must “Require all customers to wear masks while on the premises. Businesses that provide medication, medical supplies or groceries must provide an alternate, no contact, means of delivering goods for customers who cannot wear a mask. However, individuals who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition (including children under the age of 2 years per CDC guidance) may enter the premises and are not required to provide documentation of such medical condition.”Read more on Gov. Wolf’s Process to Reopen PA here.Ver esta página en español.center_img Gov. Wolf: Pennsylvania Businesses Endorse Mask-Wearing to Protect Employees, Customers, Communitieslast_img read more

Dutch scheme funding declines during second quarter

first_imgThe financial position of Dutch pension funds deteriorated in the second quarter, according to the country’s regulator De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB).Combined liabilities across the country’s 229 schemes rose by €96bn to €1,463bn, which DNB said was largely down to declining interest rates – the main criterion for discounting liabilities.Based on reporting by Dutch pension schemes, the supervisor said that combined assets rose by €55bn to €1,488bn.Since March, the proportion of pension rights managed by pension funds with a funding level below 104.2% has increased from 56% to 60%. Until recently, 104.2% was the minimum required funding level. Pension funds with a shortfall for a continuous period of five years had to cut benefits.However, as part of the pensions agreement struck between the social partners and the cabinet in June, the government decided to temporarily lower the minimum required funding level to 100%, in order to reduce the chance of cuts.DNB said that pension funds’ coverage ratio dropped by 1.3 percentage point to 106% on average in the second quarter of 2019.The funding level of 51 schemes fell short of 104.2%, while 53 pension funds – representing 20% of all pension entitlements – were more than 104.2% funded.110 pension funds had a funding level exceeding 110%, which would allow them to grant at least partial inflation compensation. Full indexation is allowed only when a scheme reaches a coverage ratio of more than 125%.Despite the government lowering the minimum required funding level to 100%, many of the Dutch pension funds – including four of the five largest – face imminent benefit cuts following the introduction of lower assumptions for future returns.As a consequence, pension funds’ “critical funding level” is to increase. Schemes with a shortfall relative to this critical coverage level must cut pension rights immediately.This has put the €442bn civil service scheme and the €217bn healthcare scheme PFZW in the danger zone. Under the old rules, their funding level at the end of 2020 would have been the criterion for rights discounts in 2021.The large metal industry schemes PMT (€77bn) and PME (€50bn) still facing cuts in 2020, as their funding ratio at the end of the second quarter was below 100%.last_img read more

Five things to know about ‘gender dysphoria’ in children

first_imgLifeSiteNews 19 August 2016“Gender dysphoria” (GD) is a condition in which a person may feel unhappy with his or her biological sex, express a desire to be the opposite sex, or even insist that he or she is of the opposite sex from what his or her genes and anatomy indicate. People who choose to adopt a “gender identity” different from their biological sex are known as “transgender.”This condition is increasingly being identified not merely in adults, but even in very young, pre-pubescent children. The American College of Pediatricians (an organization formed as an alternative to the larger and more liberal American Academy of Pediatrics), has now released an important paper on “Gender Dysphoria in Children.” It provides a significant medical and scientific counterweight to the growing ideology that demands affirmation of “transgender” identities—even in children.I encourage those interested to read the College’s press release and the full study. For those wanting a brief summary, however, here are five key points I took away from the paper.1) There is no scientific evidence that people with gender dysphoria are “born in the wrong body.”Those who identify as transgender often claim that they are “women born in men’s bodies” or “men born in women’s bodies.” Yet the scientific evidence put forward in support of this theory is weak. In fact, studies of twins have shown that when one twin identifies as transgender, only 20% of the time does the other twin also identify as transgender. This finding alone disproves the idea that gender dysphoria results primarily from prenatal genetic or hormonal influences. (Note: “gender dysphoria” is not the same as biological “disorders of sexual development”—DSD—or “intersex” conditions. The vast majority of people who identify as transgender are entirely normal males or females genetically and biologically.)2) Most children who experience gender dysphoria do not grow up to identify as transgender adults.Research has shown that, left to themselves—that is, if they are not given special hormone treatments and not permitted to “transition” into living socially as a person of the opposite sex—most children who exhibit symptoms of “gender dysphoria” will resolve those issues before adulthood and will live as normal males or females with a “gender identity” that corresponds to (rather than conflicts with) their biological sex at birth. Historically, this has been true of between 80% and 95% of gender dysphoric children.3) Despite #2, many children with gender dysphoria are now being funneled into a treatment protocol that involves both early and ongoing hormone treatments.It is one thing (and radical enough) for someone born a boy to be allowed to start living as a girl, or vice versa (that is, to “socially transition”). However, some children (as young as 11) are actually being given hormones to block the natural effects of puberty before it begins. The physical differences between male and female children (when clothed) are relatively small and fairly easy to conceal with clothing. Those differences become greater after puberty, which in turn makes it more difficult for a teenager who identifies as transgender to “pass” as a member of the opposite biological sex. Puberty blockers are intended to forestall that “problem.”Then when they are older (although sometimes as young as 16), they may begin to receive “cross-sex hormones” (e.g., estrogen for males who identify as female, or testosterone for females who identify as male). These continue the suppression of characteristics of their biological sex, while triggering some of the characteristics of the intended gender (such as breast growth or development of facial hair).4) Such hormone treatments may have serious negative health consequences—both known and unknown.Supporters of puberty-blocking hormones contend that their effects are reversible, giving a child the opportunity to change his or her mind about gender “transition” upon reaching adulthood. Case studies show, however, that in reality such an intervention puts the child on a nearly inevitable path to a transgender identity—in sharp contrast to most gender dysphoric children who are not so treated. Completion of the entire protocol of both puberty-blocking and cross-sex hormones (especially when followed by sex reassignment surgery) results in permanent sterility—the inability to ever have biological children, even using artificial reproductive technology. The American College of Pediatricians argues, “The treatment of GD in childhood with hormones effectively amounts to mass experimentation on, and sterilization of, youth who are cognitively incapable of providing informed consent.”As for cross-sex hormones, a comprehensive review of the scientific literature found, “There are potentially long-term safety risks associated with hormone therapy, but none have been proven or conclusively ruled out.” For example, giving estrogen to biological males may place them at risk for cardiovascular disease, elevated blood pressure, gall bladder disease, and breast cancer; while giving testosterone to biological females may be associated with elevated triglycerides, sleep apnea, and insulin resistance—in addition to the risks associated with obtaining a double mastectomy, which some may do when only 16 years old.5) Research shows that “severe psychopathology and developmental difficulties” often precede the development of gender dysphoria.A more compassionate approach to caring for children with gender dysphoria would involve what was once the “standard approach”—either “watchful waiting” or psychotherapy “to address familial pathology if it was present, treat any psychosocial morbidities in the child, and aid the child in aligning gender identity with biological sex.” Children are in no position to given meaningful “informed consent” for more serious and potentially hazardous procedures such as hormone therapy. read more

1 killed, another hurt in Pavia road crash

first_imgThe 31-year-old Efren Garcia of BarangayHibao-an Norte, Mandurriao district died of head and body injuries, a policereport showed. The injured person was identified asCymark Ferdinand Mirasol, 35, of Arevalo district. ILOILO City – A man was killed andanother was injured in a road crash in Barangay Pandac, Pavia, Iloilo. According to police investigators, Garciawas driving a tricycle when he was hit by a sport utility vehicle driven byMirasol around 1:12 a.m. on Dec. 15. Garcia died on the spot. Mirasol, meanwhile, was brought to theIloilo Doctor’s Hospital in Molo district for medical treatment./PNlast_img